Photography Archives - Blog
My mom handed me her Nikon F2 camera when I was 4-years old and I proceeded to snap some blurry photos of my foot and the wall. I was hooked. A contraption that captured the moment. 40 years later I’m still snapping blurry shots but now on purpose.
Recently I purchased a 5-pack of expired Fuji Velvia 100 35mm color slide film for a trip to Montana. I took a Nikon FE and FE2 film cameras with me and a battered Nikon 43-86mm f3.5 (first version) lens known for its distinct and extreme flares. I ended up shooting only Kodak Portra 400 and Tri-X up there but did go through X-ray security with my film.
On my return to Los Angeles, I shot the Velvia 100 in Culver City and the last couple shots in Palm Springs. The exposed film then sat in my car for a week as the temperature was 120 degrees in the desert. I then send the film to The Dark Room in San Clemente for developing. What I got back blew my mind. These are the untouched scans I received from the lab…
Usually I love to add the distressed, grainy and damaged looks in post to my photography as I’m trying to express a feeling and mood as opposed to worrying about sharpness or focus. This first roll of Velvia went through serious torture before it was developed. I’ve reached out to several professional photographers to ask what could be the cause of the beautiful damage. It’s been narrowed down to but not limited to: expired film, overheated exposed film, x-rays, dirty lens, mold, spores, humidity and dumb luck. Here’s a closer look at some of the shots from roll #1. These are untouched scans with no color correction:
Sometimes failure can be a good thing. Sometimes the accidental can be refreshing. Sometimes not planning can create surprising results. Last week I bought a Polaroid OneStep SX-70 camera for $9.99 at a thrift store in Joshua Tree, California. I planned on shooting a great 8-photograph series in the Mojave Desert. I inserted my Impossible Project color film and then chaos ensued.
All 8-photographs exposed themselves and ejected from the faulty camera in 12 seconds. The shutter was apparently stuck and $23.49 worth of film flew out of the Polaroid as I screamed WTF and wildly swung the camera around while pointing it out the window.
My preparations on subject, exposure, composition, focus, lighting and framing were null and void and all I had were 8 shots taken automatically in 12 seconds by a screaming lunatic holding a click crazy camera.
You know what…I really love them. Here are the photographs in chronological order as they came out of the camera:
The takeaway I learned is ALWAYS test your Polaroid camera with an empty film pack as the battery inside the pack is the power source for the camera.
Until next time…
The SX-70 is more than nostalgia. It’s more than a hipster prop.
It’s amazing technology that gave everyone the freedom to create.
It made everyone an artist with a canvas that developed in their hand.
It taught restraint, patience and decision. 10 shots per pack then. 8 now.
An analog paint brush, futuristic tool, game-changer and camera all in one.
In 1972 – Edwin Land created and released the iconic Polaroid SX-70 camera. He claimed 20,000 technological advancements in its design. “The tool for supplying a rich texture for memory…” is what modern architects/designers/filmmakers Charles and Ray Eames said about the Polaroid SX 70 in 1972. They were commissioned by Polaroid to produce an 11-minute film that shared the technical and emotional components to one of the most famous cameras in the history of photography. The film was first shown at a Polaroid shareholders meeting then later used as a sales tool within Polaroid. Legendary film composer Elmer Bernstein wrote the haunting score that merged together the technology and humanity. The film is a fantastic look at how the revolutionary SX-70 works and the creative opportunities it provides its user.
I just got home from an enthralling 2-hour interview with the musician / photographer / alien known as MOBY. Hundreds of people attended the interview at the Annenberg Theater within the Palm Springs Art Museum hosted by Brad Dunning. Moby drove in from Los Angeles just for this event and discussed his love of architecture, semiotics, city planning and he also revealed the name of his new album coming out in September 2015.
The San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm is one of the windiest places in Southern California. That’s why 3218 wind turbines are strewn across the desert outside of Palm Springs. Everyone driving past on interstate 10 instinctively starts wildly snapping photos with their phone at 70mph. The results are often unsatisfactory. My Instagram account proves me guilty of this too many times!
Yesterday, I decided to take my time, drive around and let my eye find some pleasing angles and dramatic views to capture. It was late in the afternoon and the sun was dropping behind the 10,834 feet high San Jacinto Mountains.
Here are the results… (CLICK TO ENLARGE PHOTOS)
HEADLOCK is the futuristic spy thriller film I’m editing right now.
Written and directed by Mark Polish, it stars: Dianna Agron, Andy Garcia, Justin Bartha, James Frain, D.W. Moffett, Johnny Pemberton, Patrick Bauchau and Mark Polish. HEADLOCK will be invading your brain in 2015.
Editors don’t often spend too much time on set. But I needed some sunshine and to spend time with my filmmaking family. I asked Dianna to pose for this photo during top secret filming in Lancaster, California. It’s 105 degrees Fahrenheit and yet Dianna and her custom Cadillac look quite cool.
Excited to share the filmmaking journey of HEADLOCK with you all. I will be constantly updating my blog with new information.
In 1928, FOX opened their studios in Century City, California. In 1935, FOX merged with 20th Century Pictures and those studios went on to create some of the most memorable films and TV shows of all time. I had the pleasure of working on the FOX lot during the last couple of weeks and took some behind the scenes photos during my stay. Pure Hollywood History!
Shows shot here include: Avatar, The Simpsons, M*A*S*H, The Sound of Music, L.A. Law, Charlie’s Angels, Die Hard, Fight Club, Minority Report, House and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The sense of history you feel when you walk the lot is indescribable… Read more…
ARGO won the 2013 Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Writing and Best Editing. The film details the rescue of 6 U.S. diplomats from Tehran in 1979. The CIA created a fake movie production based in Los Angeles and sent CIA agent Tony Mendez into Iran with fake scripts, storyboards and paperwork.
Here are some of the actual documents used in the rescue operation
that was run by the CIA under their “Studio 6 Productions”.
A film editor will often sift through hundreds of hours of footage shot for a project. These images flash by at 24/25/30 frames a second and the gold nuggets needed to tell the story must be mined from these mountains of digital or celluloid assets. In documentaries, still images or photographs are needed to propel the tale forward as moving images may not have available to convey certain elements or events. Thanks to Ken Burns and others…it is now commonplace to animate an image and make it come alive as if it were moving.
There is yet another approach to effective filmmaking that uses still images. By incorporating a vast amount of still images…a film editor can build the narrative and evoke emotions by juxtapositioning these images to tell the story. Just like editing moving images…the pace, choice of shot, and resonant emotional effect of still images are all critical to achieve success. It can often take much longer to build a sequence this way as more imagery is needed and every image must be perfect for that one moment on screen. On top of that…one ill-placed visual can break the flow created and destroy the fragile house of cards being built. When done well…it is a magical and invisible effect. Here are 3 amazing examples that exemplify this technique and show all filmmakers the possibilities of editing still images. Read more…